Ok, piggybacking off a thread about atheism. I have a question buried under a lot of stream-of-consciousness philosophy and backstory. Get some coffee, or wine, definitely a snack. You may need it.
As I have kind of just barely touched upon, I am not comfortable referring to myself as atheist because I believe that Love has power and much of what we attribute to God is accomplished through love.
For example, in December of 2017, I was in a coma for three weeks due to encephalitis and an ensuing series of mini-strokes. The doctors had prepared my family for the worst, and my mother, who refuses to fly, boarded a plane to be by my side.
I am extremely active on Facebook, with hundreds of friends – 98% of whom I actually know offline. I write a lot about my struggles and successes, and have taken my “fan base” with me as I’ve battled health issues, unemployment, escaped an emotionally abusive relationship, and dealt with mental health issues.
Many of my followers are former students or other young people that I have mentored, so for the most part, I try to remain upbeat and positive. This is relevant because, when I lapsed into a coma, my fiancée and my sister kept my friends and family current on my condition via Facebook.
My sister let it be known that my parents were disabled and limited in income, so she’d set up a paypal fund to get my parents here to be with me. She posted it at work, ran some errands, and by the time she got home, there was more than enough to send my parents From California to North Carolina, including enough to rent a portable oxygen concentrator for my mother.
By the time I came out of the coma, my parents had had to go home. Through those entire three weeks, the only thing I remember was hearing my mother’s voice., “Jenna. It’s Mama.” Repeatedly.
My doctors have repeatedly told me that I am a “walking miracle.” I am now permanently disabled, but I am able to care for myself and get myself around in the car when my fiancée is out of town/the country on business.
When I look back through my timeline through that period, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love. There are also links to stories on scientific studies demonstrating that a positive attitude is an essential part of healing, especially with brain injuries.
So: my Christian, Jewish, and Muslim friends called it prayer. My non-religious friends called it “sending positive energy” or “healing thoughts.” My atheist friends gave words of encouragement.
And I see them all as one and the same thing. We all just have different labels for it.
I briefly studied Religion and early Christianity at Stanford in the mid 00’s. Two ideas stood out from everything I took away from my time there.
The first is that God is at the top of a colossal mountain. Each of us starts at the bottom, and works our way up. Our paths depend on our terrain. Different environments and terrain create very different pats, but we are all headed to the same mountain top – God.
The second was that there is an ancient eastern tradition, I want to say Hindu, that believe that God is like the air, and we are all bubbles filled with God. When we die, we just go back into the collective.
Now let’s change “God” to “Love” in both of these metaphors. Then we go from something magical and/or supernatural to something organic and tangible.
This is how I define God, and why I cannot refer to myself as atheist.
So here is my question: If I’m so certain that there is no divine consciousness planning, directing, and interfering in our lives, why am I being bombarded with what seem to be signs calling me to… well… minister?